The sound of silence? What on earth are you talking about? Nothing, really. I just thought it sounded cool and we saw Disturbed play that song this summer (2016) and it made me think of that, but, let’s see if I can tie it in somehow.
Hearing is Believing
Earlier, in Part 5 we deadened the room so that we could get usable sound. Let’s talk about the importance of sound in video. Answer these questions:
- Have you ever watched a movie on mute? Probably not. That would be boring, right?
- What do most people finding themselves doing when they think something scary is about to happen in a movie? Two things, they half-cover their eyes and the cover or plug their ears. Ever wondered why?
- If you’ve ever seen someone get clubbed over the head in a video, did it look like it hurt or sound like it hurt.
Sound is a huge part of the human experience with video. A friend of ours shared the point with us that a video that looks good, but sounds bad “looks” bad to an audience. Inversely, a video that looks bad but sounds good will “look” good to the same audience.
Wow! That’s a lot of really cool fluff, but, come on. Seriously! We’re shooting an interview…
Okay, point taken. How important is good audio in an interview? Well, let’s think about this. You’ve seen the videos where someone is in a gymnasium or on a stage and they are talking and it’s really deep and highly emotional.
Maybe it’s a woman talking about her struggle with losing her child and her battle fighting through that; and now she’s using her experience to help other people who have a hard time finding their purpose and value in life. That’s heavy stuff right? This SHOULD BE tugging at my heart, right?
Well, it’s kind of hard to stay focused on the emotion when you’re sitting there, thinking to yourself, “man… that sure is echoey…”
Bad audio is distracting.
That’s why the only part of that video that really had an impact on you was when she asked a rhetorical question and stood silent for a moment to give you, the audience some time to reflect. The sound of that silence was deafening to you because it made you aware of absolutely everything you were experiencing at that moment. Think about this, if that audio had been cleaner and you weren’t distracted struggling to hear what she was saying, when that moment of silence came, would it have impacted you more? Hmmm… Interesting thought.
So, the room is deadened. What next? Well, it’s not quite as complicated a process as the camera setup, but, there’s still quite a bit to it.
Choose your weapon!!!!
So, let’s start from our subjects sound-hole, or mouth, if you want to get technical. For our purposes, we will use one of two microphones: a lavalier (aka lapel) microphone on the person, and/or a shotgun microphone.
They both serve different purposes depending on different situations. Let’s pretend, for a second, that the lav mic isn’t terribly hard to place (it really isn’t) and let’s focus on the shotgun microphone. We’ve all seen movies where the guy just won his court battle where the odds were stacked against him and he comes out of the courthouse to a large gathering of press. We see all the cameras and we see a couple of microphones on those long sticks (boom pole) and covered with those hairy looking things (dead cat: yes that’s the real name) and where are they pointed?
Everywhere except where that guy is speaking. Okay, for the movie shot, it really doesn’t matter, but, if it was the real world where should that microphone be pointed? Right at the guy’s mouth. There’s a ton of technical stuff on why, but, let’s just simplify it to, POINT THE MICROPHONE AT THE SOUND SOURCE!!! Got it? Good.
The last, main component here are the headphones. It’s absolutely essential to get noise-cancelling headphones. In our case, I use in-ear monitors from Shure. It helps insure that the majority of what I hear is coming through the microphone(s) and that the sound is as pure of a signal as possible
The sound then runs from the microphone, down the cable, and into a digital audio recorder. The digital audio recorder is every bit as important as the microphone. A great microphone into a junk recorder is just as bad as a bad microphone into a great recorder.
Now, the sound will never be perfect. It can be great, but never perfect. Luckily, that’s why we have post-production sound (more on that later), but, this covers us during our interview shoot.
Anyhow, onto the next topic: the one you’ve all been waiting for. We finally roll camera!
If, at any point you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] or you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Hamil Bros Studios is a high quality video production company based in Lubbock, TX. Their work spreads throughout West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, and beyond.